J.P. Morgan and Banc of America Securities are in the market with a $300 million "E" loan for TRW Automotive that will be partly used to buy back a $600 million 8% pay-in-kind note from former owner Northrop Grumman Corp. J.P. Morgan was the previous lead arranger, but B of A was given a lead spot with this transaction.
"J.P. Morgan has always been the lead arranger," noted Peter Rapin, TRW Automotive's v.p. of treasury and tax. "I think that [B of A] are providing some added value to the 'E' loan syndication." The existing bank lenders must approve an amendment to allow the company to add this debt but the new "E" tranche is being offered to both existing and new lenders.
TRW Automotive currently has a $350 million "A" loan, $298 million "D1" loan and a euro denominated "D2" loan, equivalent to around $61 million. The "A" loan carries a spread of LIBOR plus 1 3/4%, while the "D" tranches are priced at LIBOR plus 2 1/4%. There is also an undrawn $500 million revolver that has a drawn price of LIBOR plus 2 1/2%. Rapin declined to comment on the "E" loan spread while in syndication. The "E" loan reportedly went out to investors at LIBOR plus 1 3/4%.
TRW was acquired by Northrop in 2002 and in early 2003 the automotive group was spun off and acquired by The Blackstone Group. As a part of that transaction Northrop still owns some equity and provided the $600 million seller note, Rapin explained. Joshua Ashtrof, a principal with Blackstone, did not return calls.